The extradition treaty between Bangladesh and India came into effect on Wednesday with the handing over of the instruments of ratification of the much-awaited pact. The two countries will now be able to exchange convicts or undertrials as and when required. Bangladesh Home Secretary C.Q.K. Mostak Ahmed and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran signed the documents.
The ceremony was attended by Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, who signed the treaty with his Indian counterpart Sushulkumar Shinde on January 28. The Bangladesh Cabinet had endorsed the it on October 7, while the Indian Cabinet did earlier.
The treaty will allow exchange of convicts sentenced for more than a year in prison but will not be applicable to political prisoners and asylum seekers. Both sides have the option to cancel the treaty in six-month notice.
India can now take back ULFA leader Anup Chetia, who has been lodged in prison for many years, from Bangladesh. Dhaka too can bring back fugitive crime lords such a Subrata Bain and Sazzad Hossain and put them on trial.
“With the signature of the ratification instruments and the exchange, we are now in a position to bring the treaty into effect,” Mr. Pankaj Saran said. He hoped that the treaty would strengthen the security of the two countries.
Dhaka and New Delhi have decided to leave two important land ports open seven days a week from January to support greater trade. The land customs stations at Benapole-Petrapole and Akhaura-Agartala will remain operational seven days a week from January 1.
The ninth Joint Group of Customs (JGC) also identified 16 stations as ‘high bilateral trade importance’ and agreed to take measures for synchronisation of working hours and days. It agreed on extending the car pass system to those stations to allow movement of trucks of the importing country for unloading cargo.
Both sides also greed to consult relevant stakeholders to simplify the travel in ‘Maitree Express,’ the lone direct train service between Dhaka and Kolkata.